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In a classic case of the political pot calling the kettle black, Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry blasted the Bush administration over failing to be accountable for the disastrous fallout of the use of a fuel additive deemed carcinogenic, without mentioning he was behind legislation that mandated its
widespread use.


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Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during televised debate of Democratic presidential candidates this week. (Courtesy: WMUR-TV)

Trailing in the polls and eager to make friends in New Hampshire before
that state’s primary next month, Sen. Kerry, D-Mass., during Tuesday’s Democratic debate referenced the plight of a Salem, N.H., couple, the Denuccios,
who can’t drink their water or shower because they live next to a lake
contaminated with the additive Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, or MTBE.

“Kids can’t make the lemonade now. They don’t take showers with the
water. They have to buy bottled water. MTBE is the culprit,” Kerry described.
“This administration is trying to prevent accountability for MTBE – $50 billion
worth of add-ons in oil and gas subsidies in the energy bill; $139 billion of
return-on-investment for $139 million of lobbying money in Washington.”

Lisa Denuccio appeared with Kerry at a news conference last month during which Kerry pledged to ban MTBE if elected president. (Incidentally, in
a post-debate telephone interview, Denuccio told the Associated Press the
couple now showers with the water from their town rather than the old polluted
well. They still drink bottled water, however.)

According to Kerry, one-sixth of the water bodies in the Granite State are
polluted by MTBE or other pollution.

But what Kerry failed to mention is that he co-sponsored legislation that led
to the widespread use of MTBE by oil and gas companies as a relatively inexpensive way to reduce air pollution.

Passed by Congress and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, the Clean Air Restoration and Standards Attainment Act of 1989 amended the Clean Air Act by setting oxygenated-fuel standards. Oxygen makes gas burn more thoroughly, which in turn reduces air pollution.

The law mandated the use of oxygenates by energy companies, and MTBE was most commonly used.

WorldNetDaily
reported
that while MTBE was mandated in fuel sold all over the United
States because it was predicted to reduce harmful emissions, leading
scientists agree that prediction hasn’t come to fruition.

Rather, the mandated use of MTBE has backfired. Dr. Joel Kauffman,
professor of chemistry at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science,
told WorldNetDaily MTBE seems to have little or no effect in reducing carbon
monoxide emissions and, in contrast, is actually increasing nitrogen oxides emissions, which contribute to smog.

What’s worse is the additive, which has leeched into water supplies in
California and elsewhere, is believed to be a carcinogen.

“If it gets into the water and people drink the water, there is an increased
risk of cancer,” Dr. Nachman Brautbar, a clinical toxicologist and editor of
International Journal of Occupational Medicine, told WorldNetDaily.

MTBE is also a member of the hazardous-air pollutants list provided in the 1990 Clean Air Act and has been linked to asthma.

In July 1999, an advisory panel warned the Environmental Protection
Agency that MTBE constitutes a “risk to our environment and public health”
and recommended its use be reduced or eliminated.

After being one of the first states to use MTBE, California has banned the additive as of Jan. 1 this year. A ban in Connecticut takes effect New Year’s Day, while New York also is outlawing the additive.

Related article:

Kerry uses F-word
in anti-Bush tirade

Related column:

Kerry’s F-word unsurprising


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